Monday, 13 September 2010

Minerva's Den. Wow.

As soon as I heard about the addition of new, narrative-driven DLC for Bioshock 2, I was excited. I'm a bit of a fanboy for the franchise, and it's not particularly difficult to see why. Beatiful, unique visuals, compelling and addictive gameplay and a narrative that is seldom beaten in other games, the Bioshock franchise is a wonderfully distinctive and special gaming experience. Plus it's scary as hell.

So when the new DLC sprung up on my Xbox, it was time to order the Special Edition, and the points needed to acquire such a purchase. 800 points, which is what? 6 quid or thereabouts? These questions are good, but the real kicker is: is it any good?

It's fantastic.

I mean, it's Fallout 3 DLC-Good. Completely self-contained, Minerva's Den is about 4-6 long, and Tenenbaum is the only recognisable character from the previous 2 games. It condenses the gameplay into a smaller, bitesized affair, with all of the elements it's big brothers carry all visible, just a little easier. The new Ion Lancer is a brilliant weapon, and the Gravity Well plasmid is absolutely devastating. The enemies are more cunning, and the new Big Daddy is trickier than ever to handle.

But once again, it's the story that shines through. The plot to this little tale is beautifully constructed. Completely in-keeping with the Bioshock universe, you know you're playing a Bioshock game when you're actually stopping to listen to the audio diaries, and sneak off to a quiet place in the game to play them, savouring every last bit of dialogue.

Indeed, the biggest compliment I can give to Minerva's Den is that it is just like it's older brothers. It's got the same level of polish, that same level of detail, and a plot twist that Atlas himself would be proud of. 2K Marin has announced that this will be the last of Bioshock 2's Downloadable Content, with Minerva's Den officially drawing it to a close. Until Infinite takes to the skies sometime around 2012, I think this is a perfect send-off for the city of Rapture.

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